Ivan the Terrible: Free to Reward and Free to Punish (First Edition, Pitt Russian and East European Studies)

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$40.00  $37.20
University of Pittsburgh Press
Publish Date
6.0 X 9.1 X 1.2 inches | 1.4 pounds

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About the Author

Charles J. Halperin is one of the world's foremost historians of medieval Muscovy. He is an independent scholar and resides in Bloomington, Indiana.


"Ivan's name had long been synonymous with sadism and pointless destruction. As Charles J. Halperin remarks in his new book, Ivan the Terrible: Free to Reward and Free to Punish, Ivan is 'a card-carrying member of the Historical Hall of Shame--a dubious pantheon of mostly rulers . . . that includes Nero, Caligula, Attila the Hun, Chinggis (Genghis) Khan, Vlad the Impaler (Dracula), Caesare Borgia, and the Marquis de Sade.' . . . Was he really so terrible? Russian nationalists, who routinely accuse Western historians of 'Russophobia, ' claim Ivan has been slandered, and Halperin, for different reasons, agrees that 'Ivan's evil reputation . . . prejudices scholarship, and distorts history.' All those descriptions of 'the putative homicidal maniac' in literature, film, and historical scholarship simply 'enshrine the myth.' In Halperin's view, Ivan was bad, but no worse than other rulers of his time." --New York Review of Books

"Charles Halperin has accomplished an extraordinary feat: a balanced assessment of Ivan the Terrible. Finally, we have a treatment that situates the tsar in both historical and Historiographic context. The book is coherent and readable, straightforward in its presentation of evidence and forthright in its assessment of various alternative explanations for the strange, destructive episodes in the reign of this elusive figure." --Valerie A. Kivelson, The University of Michigan

"Ivan the Terrible leaves many questions about Ivan open to further investigation; its strength is Halperin's discovery and description of the tsar's complex, contradictory, and very human qualities, which have been obscured by myths rooted in propaganda and perpetuated in legend."
--Russian Review